AustLit logo
NLA image of person
Chris Wallace-Crabbe Chris Wallace-Crabbe i(A13617 works by) (a.k.a. Christopher Keith Wallace-Crabbe)
Also writes as: Gillian Bianchini
Born: Established: 1934 Richmond, East Melbourne - Richmond area, Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Chris Wallace-Crabbe's father was a journalist and his mother a pianist. He grew up with a family tradition of 'military-bohemian Scots'. After secondary education at Scotch College he worked at such jobs as cadet metallurgist and electrical trade journalist. He attended the University of Melbourne, graduating with a BA in 1956 and an MA in 1964. Wallace-Crabbe has had a long association with the University of Melbourne, including appointments as Chair of the Department of English, Reader and Personal Chair. In 1984 he was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He was founding director of the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne, serving from 1989 until 1994 and returning as Professor Emeritus in 1998. He has travelled widely, giving poetry readings in many countries. He has also held a number of visiting fellowships at institutions worldwide, including Yale University, the University of Exeter and Harvard University.

Wallace-Crabbe's poetry was first published during his undergraduate education and his first book, The Music of Division, appeared in 1959. Since then he has published many volumes, attracting a number of prizes, including the Dublin Prize for the Arts and Sciences in 1987. Wallace-Crabbe's poetry ranges from the syllogistic poems of his earlier career to the more public and political poems of his later career. Frequently set in Melbourne, the poems explore the dissolution of modern life and the ongoing search for joy that Wallace-Crabbe believes all humans experience. Wallace-Crabbe has edited many anthologies and collections of essays and has published a number of his own books of literary criticism and essays. He has also written a novel set in 1960s Melbourne.

From 2012-2015, Wallace-Crabbe was the judge for the Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal.

Son of Kenneth Wallace-Crabbe (q.v.) and brother of Robin Wallace-Crabbe (q.v.).

Most Referenced Works


  • Pseudonym 'Gillian Bianchini' used jointly by Wallace-Crabbe and R. A. Simpson.

Personal Awards

2011 Order of Australia Member of the Order of Australia (AM) For service to the arts as a leading poet, critic and educator, and as an ambassador and advocate for the humanities both nationally and internationally, and through support for emerging writers.
2004 Australia Council Literature Board Grants Grants for Established Writers
2002 winner Mildura Writers' Festival Awards Philip Hodgins Memorial Medal

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Rondo Manchester : Carcanet , 2018 15629710 2018 selected work poetry

'Chris Wallace-Crabbe's Rondo harvests a decade's worth of new writing by one of Australia's foremost poets. It paints a vivid portrait of eucalypt Australia's current position in an rapidly changing world. The poet asks for fresh meanings from Gallipoli and Scotland, from physics and from `Art's porous auditorium', where poetry can still be heard. `The words are only the words,' he writes, `which is more or less everything.'' (Publication summary) 

2019 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry
y separately published work icon Telling a Hawk from a Handsaw Manchester : Carcanet , 2008 Z1535034 2008 selected work poetry
2009 shortlisted ASAL Awards ALS Gold Medal
y separately published work icon The Universe Looks Down Blackheath : Brandl and Schlesinger , 2005 Z1217052 2005 single work poetry
2006 shortlisted The Age Book of the Year Award Dinny O'Hearn Poetry Prize

Known archival holdings

Albinski 227
University of Melbourne The University Library (VIC)
University of Queensland University of Queensland Library (QLD)
Last amended 10 Jan 2017 16:14:10
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: